Marketing Hot Seat: Andrew Davis

hotseatA few months ago I had the opportunity to visit the offices of Tipping Point Labs.  After some great discussions on Twitter with Andrew Davis, TPL’s Chief Strategy Officer, we agreed to meet and grab lunch to talk further. I quickly learned how smart Andrew is.  TPL has a unique perspective on content marketing as a strategic platform to drive business results.  I thought Andrew would be a perfect addition and unique perspective to the Marketing Hot Seat, and I was right.

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

The Client: Mimoco

Andrew DavisWhen Adam invited me to participate in The Marketing Hot Seat, I immediately started looking for the perfect ‘client’ to apply our methodology. As Adam specified I needed to find someone who was relatively unknown or early stage, but someone who had enough potential that we could move the dial significantly in twelve months or less. That’s when a friend introduced me to the perfect client: Mimoco.

The Product: Mimobots

Mimobots- MIMOBOT by Mimoco (Via Flickr)
Mimobots- MIMOBOT by Mimoco (Via Flickr)

Mimoco’s line of designer USB thumb drives are a geek’s dream. According to the Mimoco design team they have:

“…Fused the art of contemporary characters with the functionality of personal data storage devices making its name known in both the pop-culture driven Art Toy underground and the savvy high-tech ‘tronic world.”

Mimoco has a series of licensed Mimobots that include Star Wars characters and Hello Kitty (among others) as well as a full line of custom designed ‘bots’ for purchase at their web store. They also sell their products at ‘geek boutiques’ nationwide.

The Opportunity: Geek Chic

Even reading the Wikipedia entry for the term ‘geek chic’ hits home. It’s got all the ingredients for an extremely well-focused, niche-targeted marketing campaign. Extremely successful designers, developers and entrepreneurs fit into the category of ‘geek chic’ including the likes of Zach Klein (founder of College Humor, BustedTees and Vimeo,) the Flight of the Conchords and even comedienne Sarah Silverman.

The Plan: Embrace Chic Geeks

In order for something like Mimobots to generate a million more in sales, we’re going to focus on one, extremely well-connected community: those chic geeks. We must walk like them, talk like them and, most importantly, work with them to make Mimoco relevant in their world. Part of the allure of a brand like Mimobots is that the brand must straddle the divide between mainstream (read sell-out) and exclusive (always cool,) so mass marketing is out of the question. (Just look at what Johnny Cupcakes has built by exploiting this niche.)

The plan:

  1. Strategy – Build a strategy that focuses entirely on the Chic Geek market: the e-commerce platform, a content platform, strategic partnerships and even monthly custom designs by ‘famous chic geeks.’ We’re going to set some goals, build an influence pyramid, find the content opportunities and create an editorial calendar. ($120,000)
  2. Build – We’re going to reinvent the Mimoco e-commerce experience to focus on the designers behind the designs; to tell better product stories and to drive deeper relationships with the geeks we’re going after. We’re going to build a new digital universe and distribute content on channels that geeks adore (channels like Vimeo and Feedly.) ($250,000)
  3. Create – Using our editorial calendar, we’re going to create the best geek chic content on the web. We’ll profile the best of the best, partner with prominent geeks to deliver high-quality content designed to deliver on the brand’s promise. We’ll attend events, produce a weekly podcast, distribute weekly video content, shoot images and write – write a lot. ($300,000)
  4. Measure & Refine – Our strategy will remain intact while our tactics, channels, content and platforms shift. (Gone are the days when you can launch a website and walk away.) With weekly and monthly reports to measure our effectiveness the strategy team will refine the methodology. Perhaps we’ll try exclusive offers like or enhance the post-purchase experience with more geek chic on-device content. ($120,000)
  5. Create More – Invariably, content opportunities, new product development concepts and smart partnerships emerge the more we dive into the strategy. Perhaps something like printing a Geek Chic magazine (yes, we believe in the power of print) that includes a Mimobot with each issue works. With that in mind, the final portion of our budget is dedicated to exploiting those opportunities. ($210,000)

The Outcome: 90 More Sales A Day (On Average)

At the end of the day, our entire strategy will be successful only if we generate about 100 more Mimobot sales everyday (At an average of $30.00/sale). Will it happen overnight with a strategy like ours? No. However, we know that a powerful, underground brand like Mimoco has too much to lose if we grow too fast. With our plan in place, this time next year they’ll be selling 1,000 more Mimobots than they are today (enough to make up for the slow-grow strategy.) Guaranteed.

Let Andrew know what you think of his approach in the comments.  Thanks Andrew!

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The Marketing Hot Seat: Rachel Happe

hotseatIf you don’t know Rachel Happe yet, you are missing out.  I’ve had the sincere pleasure of getting to know Rachel in the local Boston social media scene, and it was clear from my first conversation with her that she knows social media and the power of community unlike most.  With a background that includes working as a research manager at IDC and a senior director of social media products at Mzinga, Rachel brings a refreshing, thought-provoking view to what challenges large enterprises are facing with Web 2.0.  Before reading her point of view on the Marketing Hot Seat, I’d recommend subscribing to her blog, the Social Organization and taking time to learn more about the business she is building with friend Jim Storer.  The Community Roundtable is a tremendous wealth of value-add resources for social media practioners. (My agency, Rosetta, is a big proponent and partner, and I’ve been referred to as a CR Cheesehead – read on and you’ll see Rachel lives what she preaches).  I’m grateful that Rachel has offered to weigh in this week on the challenge – please let her know what you think in the comments.

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

Rachel Happe and Gradon TrippAdam has graciously pulled out his marketing wizard wand and given me the role of CMO at an upstart consumer products company – not a likely scenario but fun to play with none-the-less!  I’m lucky because I don’t have to deal with a lot of organizational complexity, legacy systems, or legacy structures set up for a vastly different information environment than the one that exists today. And luckily, I understand a bit about what’s changed.  The cost of content creation has dropped, the cost of distribution has dropped, and the cost of customer discovery has dropped – all dramatically. That means that my investment will pay off relatively quickly.

My marketing focus is split between two key constituent groups.  My first important constituent group is the channel partners who actually sell my product to the end customer. The second key constituent group is the consumers themselves – driving demand from consumers will help me negotiate more and better contracts with my retail partners.   My goals for the year are to execute 1 exclusive large partner deal (think Target), 5 mid-size partner deals (regional chains,, etc), and 50 niche retailer contracts. Our channel manager will use our website including a blog, an email newsletter, and trade shows as the primary means of outreach to this audience.  All of those touch points will be richly supported with online media from our customers and secondarily supported through our Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube outreach done with our end customers.

On the consumer end, we’ll start with research and capturing user interaction with our product.  We’ll give our small team of young enthusiastic media makers the gear to video tape, podcast, and take pictures as they talk to users about their reaction to the product and how they use it.  We’ll use that content for regular posting to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter but we’ll also solicit content generated by the users themselves and post that. We’ll also use the research to design two online games – one individual and one team-based – that integrate with Twitter and Facebook. We will use a vendor like Bunchball that makes these games personalized, competitive, and branded. We’ll build a cheap-to-execute but unique version of our product to reward contributors for completing different tasks.  Our team of media makers will also be charged with engagement – proactively and reactively interacting with people who are in our target audience and packaging the best of the resulting interactions and media for re-use. We will identify our cheeseheads and promote them.

Roughly, our marketing spend will look like this:

I’m expecting the following unit flow from each type of retailer:
Large = 60,000 units
Medium = 12,000 units
Small = 600 units
The profit from each unit is $9 and if I hit my planned goals, we’ll have $1,350,000 in profit by the end of the year. Covering my marketing costs by a bit but building a great foundation going into the following year.

What an awesome year!

…And what an awesome post, thanks again Rachel.  What do you think of her approach?

Photo credit: Jim Storer via Flickr

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The Marketing Hot Seat: Marc Meyer

hotseatMarc Meyer is one of the few folks who agreed to participate in the Marketing Hot Seat I haven’t had the pleasure of actually meeting in person.  I hope that changes soon.  If you don’t know Marc, his blog is a continual source of thought provoking discussion in social media.  With his experience consulting in both social media and search, his background provides a powerful combo.  Marc is also the co-founder of hashtagsocialmedia, a series of amazing chats over Twitter with folks who are making a big impact in the industry.

Below is Marc’s answer to the Marketing Hot Seat challenge.  I’d recommend you put on some light jazz, turn off your phone, take a few minutes and really digest his post… and be prepared to have your brain challenged.  While Marc went way over the 500 word limit (cough), it’s just good content and shows how deep his marketing mind runs.  Let him know what you think in the comments.  Thanks Marc for taking so much time to make this a thoughtful post.  (Some emphasis added by yours truly.)

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

marc-meyerWhat I know is that I have a million dollar budget which is cool, Wooohooo…!!! and I have a pretty decent CPG that the customer likes, double Woohoo…!!! But,  I have one year to make some money. Oh boy…

So I have a couple of options I can try and leverage as many channels as I possibly can, or I can focus on one channel or maybe just a few. The bottom line though is that I only have a year to make it work. So for me I want to have reach, depth and breadth and do it somewhat quickly.

Historically I’ve worked for a direct response marketing agency and I’ve launched a “few” CPG commerce sites, along with some that had DR hooks in them. So I have to seriously consider DR as a viable channel. Why? Because it’s fast, it does work and it’s very measurable. The numbers are black and white. That includes, DR radio, DRTV, direct mail and direct email…Could this alter or affect my spend? Knowing the power and effectiveness of good DR? Absolutely. But I have also seen many big spend DR campaigns fall flat on their face with products that were supposed to be can’t miss. So it’s tempting.

But wait…There’s more.

I also have a solid background in organic and paid search with CPG’s. The power of those two combined can really stretch a budget or tap one out real quick, depending on what you know, what your strategy is and how you roll it out. As well, over the last 3 years I’ve been rolling out social media programs for companies and their products, and thus I know what social media done right, can do. I have to seriously weigh how I can incorporate this into any product launch. Is it the focus of the marketing, a spoke on the hub? Do I even consider it?

Couple of things right out of the blocks that I need to find out or determine though. What’s the message? What’s the price? Who or what is my target audience. What has worked and what hasn’t? And why?  I also want to know as much about my target audience as possible like psychographic, demographic info. And next, what is my competition doing? What are they doing right and doing wrong? Then I want to know what people are saying and where they are saying it- both customers and competition. A lot of this work can be done by implementing certain social media activities into my fact gathering. i.e. listening, monitoring, participating etc. etc…but the gist is, I want to live and breathe this product and really understand the why. Why would someone buy this product and why would they tell someone else to buy it? What are the triggers? CRM anybody? Social CRM anyone? 🙂

At this point I haven’t spent much money.  But I know a whole lot more now than I did before. And thus I can start thinking about strategy. I have a team in place I assume…right? If not then I’m hiring a team. As everyone should know by now, all of these activities require a solid team with solid skill sets that span across a lot of the digital disciplines.

My point is, we’re gathering data so that we can make more qualified decisions. Research, due diligence and knowledge make it easier to determine the spend.

So it’s strategy time:  Make money. Make it in 12 months. Get people to buy the product. Get people to repeat that process. Get people to tell their friends to use the product. Get people talking about the product. Promote the greatness and effectiveness and the value of the product in less than 12 months. Increase sales. Increase buzz. Increase traffic. Increase conversions. Grow. Rinse. Repeat.

Possible areas with associated spends. Note: I didn’t want to get into specifics about measurement so thus we went very high level here.

  • Paid and Social Media-maximize budget with a combo of both paid and social outreach 10k per month. 3 months. Measure. Go or No Go.
  • Broad reach geo-targeted, long-tail, PPC campaign to reach target audience 10k per month. 3 months. Measure. Go or No Go
  • Assuming I don’t have a web presence with this product I’m going to build out a number of sites. First and foremost, there will be an e-commerce site with all the requisite bells and whistles. Site will also include cross promotional contextual upsells with partner products and sites.- Cost- No more than 35k for development.
  • (5) Informational micro-sites built around and optimized for specific key words 25k for development
  • SEO management 1k month
  • E-mail campaign tied back to e-commerce enabled landing pages, includes building out individual landing pages and buying lists-50k for development and programming. Test, test, test. Measure. Go or No Go
  • Radio campaign 30k for 3 months development and media buy. Measure. Go or No Go
  • Direct mail campaign includes, creative, design, lists and postage 50k test, test Measure. Go or No Go
  • DRTV- 150k(optional)
  • Mobile phone campaign-text to win 50k 3 months Measure. Go or No Go
  • Creation of online community/forum 20k Ongoing. May have to hire manager to grow community. 4k/month
  • Creation of Facebook campaign/widget as well as fan page to generate buzz in product and win, trip, prize etc. 20k for development
  • Creation of Twitter accounts to monitor buzz, consumer outreach, and customer service.
  • Create Blog contest on most creative way to spend a million dollars to promote product<grin>
  • PR blitz and Blogger relations and outreach for product testing 5k per month
  • Product reviews and recommendation engines submittal and management 1k/month
  • Celebrity endorsement and spokesperson and sponsors (optional)
  • YouTube video contest on the many ways to use the product with associated landing page 3 month duration. 20k development and management
  • I-phone app 20k

So as you can see I went the route of “let’s approach as many channels as we can and let’s test and then measure them equally.” Most of the channels were essentially a 3 month test. This gives us enough time to evaluate the results, continue it or bag it and move the money and resources towards channels that are performing. The thing to understand with all of these channels is that collectively they all perform the function of branding and marketing on an ongoing basis. So even though we are testing, we are also reaching, we are also penetrating and we are always measuring. Positive movement.

What some might find of interest is that I didn’t throw all of my efforts towards social media, or all of it towards search. I think what some people need to understand is that if my budget was less I would start to really look at the channels that would give me the biggest bang for the buck. Perhaps why social media for example seems so appealing to a lot of people, is that the barrier of entry is relatively low. But what people fail to realize is that the investment in time and labor can be substantial to generate the results that some of the other channels can do.  So yes, I am a social media evangelist and I write and speak about it daily, but that doesn’t mean that you ignore all other forms of digital marketing. It complements and enhances, it doesn’t solve your problems.

I want to thank Adam for throwing this out there. It was fun to actually think about what could be possibly be done with that kind of budget, and even more challenging to keep this post short enough to meet the needs of spending that budget! I could easily have seen this stretching out into quite a detailed document. But nevertheless, I’m honored to have the chance to throw my 2 cents in with some really, really smart people.

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The Marketing Hot Seat: Aaron Strout

hotseatOf the folks who agreed to participate in The Marketing Hot Seat (all of them marketing practitioners in some form), Aaron Strout is the only one who is currently a CMO.  At Powered, Aaron is in a position to talk with peers on a regular basis about justifying the ROI on community. I’ve gotten to know Aaron over the last few years, before he became a Boston-to-Austin transplant, and he was one of the first ten people I started following on Twitter in mid-2007.  Several months ago Aaron asked me to participate in the Experts in the Industry Series (many of the Hot Seat contributors are fellow alums), and it was around that time I began to refer to Aaron as “the Kevin Bacon of Social Media.”  Aaron is the consummate connector and has a relevant, practical and thoughtful approach to the Marketing Hot Seat challenge.  It’s not what I expected, I’m guessing if you know Aaron and his background you might be surprised too.  (If you like what Aaron has to say I’d also recommend checking out his weekly Quick n’ Dirty Podcast with Jennifer Leggio where the talk of social media case studies is an informal breath of fresh air).

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

aaronstroutLet me start by saying this is a brilliant exercise Adam for two reasons:
1) you’re getting some great advice from some of the smartest minds in the industry (well, from the other participants at least).
2) the rules of this “exercise” not only require us to be pithy but we also have to prove out an ROI, with all due respect, a topic that many bloggers can usually skate around.

What’s a little tricky about this exercise is that although you’ve specified that we are the CMOs of a “consumer product whose customers like our product,” the fact that we don’t know whether we’re selling soft drinks, software, or soft pillows — products that all require different channels of distribution — makes developing a marketing strategy tricky. Because I’ve only ever worked for companies that sell services and/or software, I’m going to pretend that the product is consumer software (delivered SaaS style).

Now that we know what we sell, I’m also going to assume that we make a profit of $20/month or $240/year/new customer. With these assumptions, we can start to create a budget and an ROI construct. For starters, I’m going to go out and hire three people to manage our marketing activities. You may or may not have intended us to include this in our plan but I’m going to exclude salaries because most companies bucket this as an operational cost:

  • manager of lead gen/SEO
  • manager of social media/PR
  • manager of event marketing

And here are the areas we’re going to spend our money:

  • $400,000 – paid search
  • $100,000 – event marketing/sponsorships
  • $125,000 – PR (think someone like SHIFT)
  • $300,000 – e-mail list rentals
  • $75,000 – research subscriptions/CRM/listening tools

Without going through all the math, lets say these paid activities drive 4,000,000 prospect touches with an average response rate of 2% resulting in 80,000 interested prospects. Assuming a 5% convert, that gives us 4,000 new customers at $240 per customer for a total profit of $960,000. [Note: these numbers may or may not be on target but for the sake of this exercise, it shows you that this is one way to think about the math behind marketing ROI].

Uh oh. That leaves us $40,001 short of our goal. But wait, that’s where social media comes in. Because we’re a smart company and we signed up for a listening service right out of the gate so we know where our potential customers are hanging out. We also have a manager of social media (along with our savvy CMO) that is blogging participating on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn. All of these activities help increase reach and thus new prospects.

Let’s assume that if we’re doing our job right, we hit an additional 5,000 interested prospects with the same math as above. That gives us 250 incremental customers, so at $240/customer, we bring in an additional $60,000 and voila, we’re now at $1,020,000 in annual revenue. Yes, we’re squeaking by but we’ve built a great base for future marketing efforts. And while I didn’t include it here because our new company wasn’t quite ready for community, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would budget in a branded online community to the tune of $200-300K for year two. But that’s a blog post for another day…

What do you think?  Did Aaron nail it?  What would you do differently?

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The Marketing Hot Seat: Kyle Flaherty

hotseatI met Kyle Flaherty prior to his Boston to Austin journey and knew early on that he was a thought leader in marketing.  As Director of Marketing and Communications for Breakingpoint, Kyle is passionate about applying new marketing techniques in the B2B arena.  Besides his passion for the Red Sox, he and I continue to share the belief that social media provides new tools and approaches to complement the marketer’s toolbox.  I had high expectations on Kyle’s entry for the Marketing Hot Seat – especially with his help to craft the idea – and he doesn’t disappoint. Read on.

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

One million dollars goes a long way these days when it comes to marketing and I would make the most out of it by brining on resources and tools to then implement the necessary tactics. There will be four steps to take:

  1. Listen

    Kyle Flaherty

    Kyle (2nd from Left) along with the infamous Tim Walker, Bill Johnston and yours truly.

  2. Firstly we will want to understand how people perceive our product, the competition and how they find and digest information. To begin we will need to understand the community vernacular starting with how they search. Instituting a sophisticated SEO campaign and a detailed keyword landscape we will begin to understand what people are saying and more importantly what words they are using. Employing Hubspot we will create a detailed keyword landscape and with Google Analytics we will be able to correctly identify how our community finds our own company.

    Using this keyword landscape we now plug terms into a combination of Meltwater Buzz and simple RSS aggregation to find the people who are using these terms, where they are having these conversations and how they like to engage with other people and potentially brands. Doing this over a healthy period of time, I recommend 60 days, we can build a tighter messaging platform, proper web copy and launch our brand new website! The latter portion will be the most costly, but it would be a shame to not have your website reflect what you have learned during the listen phase.

    COST:$200,000 ($80,000 going to website design and development, $20,000 to tools and $100,000 to salary of staff and outside consultants)


  3. Participate
  4. Our brand new website has launched, properly communicating with our audience our product’s merits. Also, based on the above research in we determined the majority of our potential customers are using Twitter and that 78% of them have their own blog (come along with me, this is all fantasy). Understanding this information we have created a plan to integrate social media into our marketing campaigns. The campaigns will be centered on creative uses of our products and we will use social media, email, PPC and event marketing. An important note here: our company views social media as part of our communications DNA and not a separate entity.

    The marketing staff will combine to manage the campaigns, including social media, and be the defacto community managers since there is no need to have someone dedicated solely to that job if it is part of everyone’s job. Kicking it all off will be an exclusive invite to our kick-off party, hosted in New York City but broadcast live into rented out pubs throughout the world (open bar anyone?). After the kick-off we will be launching several PPC campaigns, an email push and dedicated conversations on Twitter and Facebook. The one central tenant to all of this will be the use of video and images taken by our users and aggregated throughout our platforms.

    COST: $300,000 (The event is going to take the majority, but we will also need to purchase video equipment for users, PPC, email tools and of course salary).

    TOTAL TIME ELAPSED: 180 days

  5. Nurture
  6. Customers are flowing into the website and purchases are through the roof, nice work! Now we have to nurture our base. Each day we are interacting with our community online, offering tips on how to better use our product, highlighting their photos/videos and creating our own online content for people to share. This is the pure work portion of our twelve months and will take a lot of time from the marketing staff. During this time we will also want to create our customer advisory council in order to gather more information about the use of the product (version 2 is slated for a Christmas launch), these people will also start to become our online ambassadors for the planned launch of our dedicated online forums.

    COST: $100,000 (Salary will be the majority, but some funds will be used to get the advisory council together)

  7. Measure
  8. This portion was started actually during the listening phase, but I didn’t want you to be confused. Our measurements will be directly related to our business goals and as a start-up these are on a quarterly basis. Using we have built a sophisticated sales and marketing dashboards and integrating that directly into our website we are measuring lead source details each day. This will include the use of SalesForce’s Twitter application, some personalized javascript development and integration of Act On for web analytics. Our web analytics will not be just numbers, but the actions folks take, based on personas built during phase 1.Everything we do will be measured down to the dollar and the impact of that dollar to our bottom line.

    COST: $100,000 (, Act On and customized development)

    TOTAL TIME: Although measurement will happen daily, we will really have a great feel for success at the one year mark.

    Now it’s time to plan for next year, and look at me, I have some money left over, I’m thinking bonuses for my staff.

Well done Kyle, thanks again for participating and inspiring this series.  What do you think of Kyle’s approach?  What would you do differently?

Photo credit: Aaron Strout via Flickr

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The Marketing Hot Seat: Kevin Ertell

hotseatI first met Kevin Ertell in early 2007 when I took over as Rosetta‘s account executive on our engagement to build the new It was clear to me right away that Kevin had the marketing and ebusiness savvy to lead a large scale initiative to change how Borders takes on eCommerce.  Now as Foresee’s VP of Retail Strategy, Kevin is continuing to make his mark in online retail.  Kevin’s been a great partner to work with and I’m grateful that he was willing to be the first victim contributor on spotlight for The Marketing Hot Seat.  As a reminder, the challenge:

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

Here’s a very thoughtful response from Kevin.

Kevin Ertell - blog photoOK. Setting aside all the caveats about the fact that I don’t know what the product is, what it costs to make and what our margins are, here’s generically how I would approach the situation:


  1. Thoroughly understand the customers who like our product
    The customers who know our product like it. We need to find out why, in their words, and determine what personality traits, hobbies, demographics, etc. in those customers are relevant to their liking our products so that we can speak to others like them.
  2. Get our online destinations right
    With a relatively small marketing budget, we’re going to need to maximize our online strategy. (Actually, we should do that even if have a large marketing budget.) We need to make sure our website and our retailer websites are highly usable and highly effective in merchandising our product and providing the ability for customers to easily spread the word about us.
  3. Drive traffic with whatever budget is left
    Only when we have ensured that we have solid destinations for our traffic will we start to actively search for traffic.


  1. Learn as much as we can about the customers who most love the product.
    Why do they like it? What are there personality types; let’s use the Myers-Briggs personality test and really get a thorough understanding of these folks. How do they describe our product? Let’s pay attention to the words they use as we’re going to reuse those words in our copy.
  2. Hire ForeSee Results to measure our site’s effectiveness from our customers’ perspectives.
    I realize this may seem self-serving since it’s my company, but I was a client for seven years before joining the company three months ago, and I’ve see how well it works.  So, I want it in this role. So there! We’ll use measurements, analysis, Session Replay and usability audits to ensure we’re providing the best experience we can.
  3. Hire Bryan Eisenberg to develop archetypes and to implement the Persuasion Architecture on our site.
    We need to speak to customers in language that resonates, and Bryan understands how to do that. We’ll also use that language for product descriptions and other content we give to retailers for their sites.
  4. Create a high quality product video.
    We’ll use this video on our own site and we’ll give it to retailers for their sites. We’ll focus on the key aspects customers love and use copy that includes words that resonate with those customers. We’ll also show real customer testimonials.
  5. Launch customer reviews and customer forums on our site
    We need to make sure our customers can openly provide their thoughts about our product, even when they’re negative.
  6. Launch several blogs on our site
    Since we only have one product, we need to provide some fresh and compelling content on our site to give people a reason to come back. The content doesn’t need to be about the product all the time. It can be able anything, as long as it’s compelling. I’ll focus on general marketing, our CEO can blog about leadership, and we’ll find some people to blog about topics our customers are interested in. All of this blog content will also be great for SEO.
  7. Launch a marketing campaign to retailers informing them about key customers and teaching them how to sell the product
    Our initial marketing efforts will essentially be internal. Let’s get the sellers pumped up and doing their jobs well before we send customers their way.
  8. Develop a widget for retailers that gives customers the ability to easily share information about the product
    We need to give our customers ways to share information about our product on their own in a way that is easy and positive. Let’s create a fun widget that people want to share on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.
  9. Get our SEO right, buy search terms, send emails, run re-marketing campaigns, etc.
    I don’t want to minimize the value of these techniques, but we really need to make sure our destinations are right before we add lots of traffic.

So there you have it. My main point here is to focus on the customers first, the destination second and the traffic driving last.

This was a fun exercise, Adam. Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Thank you Kevin – I look forward to a good discussion here.

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The Marketing Hot Seat

hotseatOver the course of the last several years I’ve gotten to know and interact with a bunch of talented marketers.  One of my favorite benefits of the community on Twitter is access to these folks for great discussions.  In the interest of showcasing that talent pool, over the next few weeks I’m going to share with you several posts here in response to a challenge, inspired by this line in the movie Speed:

“Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?”

After some Mr. Burns-like scheming with my friend Kyle Flaherty, I’m pleased to kick off the first Marketing Hot Seat challenge.  I have posed the following situation to 13 marketing-minded folks who span a breadth of knowledge and experience in the industry:speed

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

Each participant will get a maximum of 500 words for a blog post to be shared back here in the next several weeks. The hope is a Harvard Business Case-like discussion on factors that go into a decision process, strategy development and prioritization of budget.  We have a diverse set of minds from the worlds of eBusiness, digital strategy, marketing consultants, content marketing, search engine marketing, community management and PR.  I am really grateful to these talented individuals for being willing to jump on the hot seat:

Upcoming posts:

  • Todd Defren, principal at SHIFT Communications – TBD
  • Jennifer Leggio, ZDNet social business blogger + Fortinet strategic communications director + Security Twits herder emeritus – TBD
  • Alan Wolk – Blogger, Creative Strategist, Consultant – TBD
  • Jim Storer – Experienced community manager and social media strategist. Working on my next venture… The Community Roundtable – TBD
  • Ken Burbary – Digital Strategy and Social Media for Ernst & Young – TBD
  • Kipp Bodnar – Social Media Marketer who blogs at – TBD
  • Li Evans (Liana ‘Li’ Evans) –  Director of Social Media for Serengeti Communications – TBD
  • Beth HarteMarketingProfs Community Manager and #pr20chat Moderator. – TBD

You can bulk follow them here:

…and you can find them in a list on Twitter at

This is a great chance for all of us to engage in a healthy debate – extra points for creativity.  Where do you think they should get started?  Interested in being the company in the example?  It’s not too late, please let me know.

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